Understanding the needs of your clients and catering your services to meet them is the key to a successful and ongoing professional relationship. We recently spoke with business and mindset coach and founder of Sidekick Property Management, Hermione Hart, about the necessity of understanding and implementing buyer psychology into property management while maintaining your agency fee.
Hermione’s philosophy cycles around actively listening to and learning from the needs of your clients. She reiterates the importance of a growth mindset to solve your client’s problems and help them in achieving their goals, “the more you actively listen and learn, the better you’ll get at selling your business.”
We’ve determined six areas in which buyer psychology can help you grow your business and attract new clients that will stick around.
Ask the right questions to establish the “why”
There are a host of ways that agencies place a specific fee on the value that they provide — typically by matching the rates of other local agencies or sitting themselves somewhere that is mid-range and attainable for more clients. Using buyer psychology to determine fees shifts the importance from the fee itself to understanding the specific needs of the client. Owners and investors want to feel supported and heard and are likely to pay more for this premium service. Once you understand the client from this perspective, fees won’t be an issue for them.
Rethink your value proposition
Having a unique selling point that stands out from the market will be your crowning glory. Often people might think they have a unique point of difference, but it may not be enough to differentiate them from the crowd. When an investor or landlord can’t separate your services from other agencies, it will ultimately come down to who has the cheapest fee.
Potential clients who are willing to pay a higher fee will be looking for a property manager who provides a more valuable and unique service. Determining your value proposition is essential to attracting this type of client. According to Hermione,
“There are lots of different things that you can do that show that [you are] of benefit to the client and what they need, not just what everybody else is offering.”
Review your previous customers and their pain points, to create customer profiles
The initial part of a relationship with a new client is where you should hone in on what Hermione calls “discovery mode”. This is where you take the time to ask several questions and dig deep into what your clients need from you and what have been pain points in the past to determine how you can provide a service that supports these needs. Once you’ve done this, it will be easier to identify what they’re really looking for and to fine-tune your offering and points of difference to specifically meet these needs. By showing a client exactly how you will meet their needs, a higher fee is more realistic. Different clients will have different experiences and points of concern and establishing this from the start creates ongoing connection and trust.
With this information, you can create customer profiles to help determine the attributes of the clients you are attracting. You will begin to notice a commonality regarding needs and concerns amongst your clients and can use this information to fine-tune your services and continue attracting a similar audience.
Create some targeted messages
Targeted messaging can be used not only to communicate your mission and values but to address the individual needs, interests, and pain points of clients. The more you learn about each client, the more informed you are when it comes to the next client. Additionally, this information can be pulled into your marketing strategies, social pages, emails, brochures, and the infographics you use. Focussing on the pain points that crop up most often and demonstrating how you have worked through them is a great way to advertise your past successes and encourage new clients to reach out.
For the property owner, it might not be about what marketing strategies you have in play, but more so having a property manager who is going to take their needs on board and take care of them so they have fewer worries. Tailoring your approach to each client and selling them a holistic solution to their needs further personalises you as a business and solidifies your commitment to them. Conventionally, property manager newsletters are used for educational purposes. However, there is great value in using a system such as this to communicate the continuing value of what you do. Try updating your clients on the positive things you have done to improve your service each month so they can see that you are constantly adding value to what they are paying for.
Back it up with social proof
Communicating the value of your services to your clients through evidence-based social proof gives them the confidence to invest in your higher fee based on the rewards that accompany it. You can use testimonials from your clients and case studies to support the benefits of your work as a reflection of your dedication to each client. Hermione confirms that any sort of reflection and research you can do to support your work will be valuable.
Use statistics to help deliver messages
Testimonials and case studies are one thing, but taking the extra step to provide statistical evidence confirming the benefits of your work is another. Numerical proof will give your existing and potential clients confidence in investing their time and money into the service you are providing them. Include things like average arrears, average days the properties you manage spend on the market, and the average rent charged above market cost.
Remember, questions hold the answers — the more questions you can ask in key areas to your clients, the more you open up yourself and your business to further success.
🎧 Listen to the podcast episode that inspired this blog, or read on for the transcript
Kate: Hi, and welcome to Property Management & Me, a series from PropertyMe bringing quick tips and insights that will make a difference to your everyday property management practice. I’m your host Kate Sunol and today I’m joined by Hermione Hart from Sidekick Consulting. I’ve spoken to a lot of property management business owners and high-performing BDMs who really credit their success to Hermione’s coaching.
If you’ve downloaded any of her guides from the Sidekick website, you’ll know that she’s just full of gold, and I’m really excited to be chatting with her around how understanding buyer psychology can help you win more business without dropping your fee. Welcome, Hermione.
Hermione: Hi, Kate. Thank you so much. What a beautiful introduction. I sound pretty good there.
Kate: You do. You definitely have a lot of insight to offer, so we are really excited to have you chatting here today. There are a host of ways that agencies can determine the fees and the value that they provide for clients.
I’d say the most typical being that they just match local area rates or they sort of sit somewhere in the middle. How does this concept vary from using buyer psychology to, I suppose, pitch value for the fees and uh, to influence how a client can see value for your services?
Hermione: Yes. Like an agency usually chooses a set of fees, and I’ve had conversations with some startup business owners where it’s literally.
As you say, picking that number out of the air and doing what the other agencies are doing. Um, but there’s definitely some businesses that want to be more of that premium end service and charge higher fees, and I feel that for that to be able to happen, it really is important to understand why, why people buy, and why investors would pay more to be able to then command those higher fees.
Kate: So a lot of agencies will work in the reverse. They’ll think, what’s our unique selling point? What’s our value proposition, and how can we communicate that from the get-go? But your perspective is just taking a moment to understand the problems and the pain points from the clients, and then having the conversation centered around that.
Hermione: Yeah. So the way I teach like selling and BDM and growth is it’s a very consultative-based approach. Um, so it’s sort of called needs-based selling. So let’s say you have a lead, you’ve got a client that you’re going out to see, instead of just sitting down and. Pitching and telling them all the reasons why you’re amazing.
It’s actually really taking that first part of that conversation into discovery mode. So it’s asking several types of questions to really dig deeper, to find out what do they need, where are they at, what’s important to them, what’s. Been a problem or a pain point for them in the past. And then once you’re able to identify what those pain points are, what their frustrations have been, and what they’re really looking to achieve and what they really want, like, then you can actually be really crafty in fine-tuning your offering and your points of difference to specifically meet those needs.
And then it’s much easier A, to convert, but B, to command that higher fee cuz you’re showing them exactly how your service is going to meet their needs. Does that make sense?
Kate: Sure. So what are some of the ways that you can try and determine what the client needs? Because I’d imagine it’s not a one size fits all. Different landlords will have different experiences, different things that they’re concerned about, different things that they’re looking for in a Property Manager. Where do you start in trying to figure that out?
Hermione: Oh, like, yeah, totally. Like any, any sort of reflection, and research that you can do will be valuable. I mean, if you’ve been working in any form of new business and bringing on new clients, it’s just starting to think about, say for the owners that. You know, maybe have changed your agencies and come across to you, like, what were those reasons why, you know, like what were the reasons why they weren’t happy with their previous agent?
Was it that they didn’t get callbacks? Was it that, you know, that they didn’t feel valued? Was it that their property sat on the market for ages not being leased? You’ll start to know what some of them generally are. But again, it’s asking that specific client because you’re gonna keep learning.
There’s gonna be more things you’re gonna be, wow, I didn’t realize that was a reason why people changed agencies. Now I can not only bring that into my questioning and conversations, I can actually then pull that into my marketing and my social media to speak to those points, when I’m marketing for new leads.
So definitely looking at why people have been coming to you. And then for the people who are, you know, maybe not coming from another agency, it’s really kind of trying to figure out for, for them it’s like, well, what would they be really trying to achieve if they’re wanting to get you to rent out their property?
Like, what is it that they’re ideally looking for? It’s not about what marketing strategies you’ve got, it’s about for that owner, they want to get the best possible tenant in their property, who’s going to look after it. They’re going to want to have the shortest amount of vacancy period that they can. They’re going to want to get the best possible rent for the marketplace.
And like, they’re going to want someone who is just going to take care of all of that for them so they don’t have to stress or worry and is going to communicate with them. So it’s like you can then look at that, that whole scenario as like, what does the client actually want out of the outcomes of that versus what are the features of what you’re trying to sell.
So those are the outcomes and the benefits versus the features if that makes sense. And honestly, it’s the more questions that you can ask, and the more actively you can listen and learn, the better you’ll actually get at selling. The more you can go right, okay, so from the questions I’ve just asked, what I’m hearing is that X, Y, Z is really important to you, is that right? Is there anything that I’ve missed? Oh, well actually this is important. Okay, great. Now I have a full, clear picture of exactly what’s important to you. So if I can deliver that with our service, then would you be happy to go ahead and use us? Yeah, that sounds great. You know, it’s starting to make them feel heard, make them feel understood, and help to solve their challenges and goals.
Kate: That’s a really great start for someone coming into a listing presentations who really wants to refine that consultative approach. Let’s switch to a different angle. Say you are in an agency and you want to be communicating your value to your current landlord and your portfolio, how would you go about building those relationships or really reaffirming those messages to the clients you’re currently doing business with?
Because I mean, a lot of people only hear from their Property Managers when something goes wrong. They don’t often hear or know about everything that we do behind the scenes for them.
Hermione: I know, which is so sad because Property Managers work so bloody hard, but we’re so busy doing the, doing that we are not kind of like saying, hi, here’s what I did this week, or here’s what we’ve changed, or here’s what we’ve improved.
So I think it’s, it’s a really important point to consider because the market is very competitive. So if, you know, if a client of yours doesn’t feel like they’re really looked after and educated and valued, they might not be miserable, but they might just be in this like middle passive ground, and they’re the ones that maybe if a cheaper option does come along, maybe they will go, oh, well, you know, it’s cheaper over there.
They can’t really see the difference. So you can start to then, like you can start to ascertain, wow, it actually is really important for us to be continually communicating the value of what we do. And part of doing that is, you know, you can look at things like there’s landlord newsletters and things like that, which are usually more educational.
But you know, if you are doing any form of landlord newsletters and communication, try and look at, well, how can we be communicating what are the positive things that we’ve done to improve the service this month, as an example, so that they can see that you’re constantly adding value. But really, at the end of the day, it, it comes down to the communication, the relationships, taking that consultative based approach, like listening to your clients, making them feel heard because that, that relationship is like, that’s the little, the bow that keeps them there.
Sure, you know, the software and the systems and everything are going to be really useful, but what I really believe is that allows the Property Manager to spend more time actually speaking to them and showing that value and showing that they hear and they listen and that they understand. Not just that that client has a repair, but that that client is a whole person. They’ve got a whole life. They’ve got this property, which may be one or multiple in their portfolio, that they aren’t just having this property there for fun and games, that this is part of a bigger plan for their, say, retirement or succession plans or cash flow, whatever it is. So it’s not just managing maintenance and stuff, it’s actually you’re helping this person with the future, with the future.
And so when you can connect in with that, with the clients and start to build a relationship from that perspective and hear them and help them from that perspective, I don’t believe that fee is going to come into it because clients are going to feel so supported and heard in that journey that they’re going to feel that value.
Kate: Wow. That’s a lot to take away from and a lot to consider about how we’re currently doing things and what we can do to show that we’re adding that little bit more value. Thank you so much for joining us here today, Hermione. If there’s one or two things that you’d want listeners to take away as key points, what would they be?
Hermione: The first thing that popped into my head is that questions hold the answers. So the more questions you can ask in all areas, especially to your clients, the more that you are going to learn.
And the day that you think you know it all you need to check yourself because there’s more, there’s always more to learn. Like I’ve been in this industry for 20 years now and I still am constantly learning and noticing different things and different behaviors. So if you can try and with everything we’ve kind of said today, take that growth mindset of like, Hey, wow, I can constantly be keeping learning and improving and getting better and better. Um, you know, like you’re not sort of stuck with the skills that you have. You can evolve and improve them.
Kate: I love that. That’s so good. Again, thank you so much for joining us. If people want to continue the conversation around this, how do they reach out?
Hermione: Yeah, totally. Probably, as far as the social goes, like I’m most active on Instagram, so @hermionehart, you’ll see what I’m doing each day. I’ve got tips and advice on there. Or you can head on over to the website, sidekick.net au.
There’s a bunch of free resources on there. I’ve also got several, training courses and programs for Property Managers. There’s actually an event coming up called non-sleazy selling, which is me talking about that consultative-based approach. So you could find that there as well. But if not, there’s some beautiful freebies on there that will help you.